Press release

Time has come to dispel the myth of feckless young people, UKCES claims

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) responds to new research from the British Chamber of Commerce, calling for more work to be done to offer work experience and dispel the myth of unprepared young people.


The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) is calling for more to be done to dispel the myth of feckless young people, following research from the British Chamber of Commerce.

Moira McKerracher, Deputy Director of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills said:

“Whilst it’s true that young people need more support to help them move from education to employment, our research shows that most businesses who recruit a young person are pleased with the calibre of their newest member of staff

“Indeed, our survey of over 90,000 employers finds that 59% of business who recruit 16 year old school leavers feel they are well prepared for work, rising to 74% for college leavers and 83% for University leavers. This dispels the myth that young people are feckless, unwilling or unable to work.

“Where businesses feel young people are poorly prepared for work, this is usually because they lack experience rather than specific skills or knowledge – yet few employers actually offer work experience themselves.

“That’s why we support the British Chamber of Commerce’s call for more and better work experience. Rather than being confined to two weeks in the summer, work experience needs to be thought of in its broadest sense and include business mentors, talks in schools and mock interviews alongside work experience placements.

“Employers, schools, colleges and young people themselves should all expect meaningful work experience to be the norm. Schools and colleges in particular have a role in ensuring that access to this kind of activity is not governed by ‘who you know’.

“Our report, Not just making tea: Reinventing work experience shows that there are already many excellent examples of employers working with schools, colleges and universities to offer young people work experience. Most of these are long-term collaborations that also involve charities, local Jobcentres, councils, Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnerships. This kind of activity now needs to be scaled up across the country and different sectors.”

Published 2 October 2014